Following her Terius Nash produced single ‘Dirty Laundry’ last week, Kelly Rowland repays her dues by appearing on The-Dream’s new single ‘Where Have You Been’ which is set to feature on the singer/producer’s upcoming IV Play album. The sweet and uncomplicated production sets the stage for a traditional back and forth between Nash and Rowland - no alt-R&B nuances here, this is an undiluted throwback.
Tinashe’s sultry, sex-soaked single ‘Who Am I Working For’ lifted from her Reverie mixtape now features a guest spot from A$AP NAST for it’s official remix. Though the production and vocals remain untouched, the new version opens with a rather compelling and well controlled double-time verse from NAST. His contribution will serve as a good intro for those unfamiliar with him outside of his A$AP Mob association.
Hot off the heels off her epic Super Bowl show last night, Beyonce appeases her legion of world wide fans by announcing her biggest world tour to date. Titled ‘The Mrs. Carter Show’, the tour will see Queen Bey performing across the world for nearly an entire year. She will hit UK and Europe before moving on to America and Asia – most excitingly for us though is her 4-night stint at the 02 Arena April/May. Watch her regal 02 Priority promo video up top and ready to part with yo’ cash. Pre-say tickets go on sale to O2 customers on February 21st.
The second of #TDEFamAppreciationWeek sees the next Black Hippy member Ab-Soul dropping that annunaki flow to new depths and chewing philosophical fat concerning doomsday over equally arcane production by, interestingly, alternative R&B moonlighter JMSN. “The law of relativity’s cute, I even sunk Atlantis too, NASA on that bullshit, they always cropping out my crew…”
With Ryan Hemsworth’s profile increasing off the back of a post-wavey (gosh, are we there already?) Max B citation ‘Charly Wingate’ and a slew of decent remixes this year, his flip of just-signed RCA R&B chica Tinashe wipes the floor and electric slides into sexier plains. His oft-employed combination sub-Saharan fills and 808 cricketing often strike the middle ground between equatorial and plain out there. There’s something intriguing about the weird Hip-Hop amalgam displayed on his solo stuff, in some ways reminding of how Clams Casino really struck gold by being some avant garde by-product of, say, The Heatmakerz. Keep an eye out.
Smack yourself in the face with a spiked bat to this one. We’ve been highlighting elusive LA songtress Bago for some time, her track ‘Remember’ was rather large, and whilst in wait for her upcoming LP Sunday’s Best things take a turn for the nasty on this bootlegging of ‘I Forget You’. It’s like something that would in theory be extracted from the TNGHT school of bathsalt R&B (should those chaps decide to set one up, that would be good for everyone). Producer Caleb Stone pretty much takes the reigns as Bago’s voice is used sparsely to punctuate the merciless trapstrumental. One can only wish there was more of her chops incorporated on here…
As O.G’s go, they don’t get much better than Anita Baker. A celebrated singer/songwriter, Baker has long set the benchmark for aspiring female artists with classics like ‘Sweet Love’ and ‘Angel’. Her distinctive vocal techniques and alto-soprano quickly set her among some of the most revered singers in American R&B whilst herself a Quiet Storm staple in the 80s and early 90s.
Back in the spotlight with new single ‘Lately’ (points if you can guess the relatively obscure late 90s slow jam original before hitting here), she relayed to Boombox her semi-formal time-capsule approach to new album Only Forever: “I just had this concept of walking into a digital universe with an analog heart. So we’re kind of marrying the two. I started cutting analog down in Nashville, and once I knew what we were gonna do, we bounced it over to the digital format so that the 21st century producers like Harvey Mason, Jr., could manipulate it.”
Needless to say, her ‘Lately’ cover captures her own old school, contemporary adult Rhythm & Blues authenticity well in an even classier reverse-retro bel hommage to it’s cover source
Only Forever is out on the (equally) legendary Blue Note Records, October 23rd.
8 years after the release of their debut LP, Nina Sky are finally back with a follow up album titled Nicole & Natalie. Intended to showcase both sides of their personalities’ & styles’, the free-to-download release features 8 new songs, including previous singles ‘Day Dreaming’ and ‘Heartbeat’. The album also includes this intriguing number called ‘Never Kissed You’ produced by Salaam Remi – a curious track that certainly does display a new side to the twins’ sound. Listen to the song and download the album (for free) below…
Towards the end of June we featured a track by 16 year old producer XXYYXX called ‘Faces‘. The young beat-smith is back with a remix of Tinashe’s R&B number ‘Let me Love You’. He’s chosen to incorporate sludgy kicks, fizzing hi-hats and occasionally tweaked vocals, making this track a real sultry bubbler. He manages to maintain the original’s feel while still infusing his own style on the track. XXYYXX‘s star is definitely rising, gaining fans around the world. If you want to catch him on the ascent, he will be touring Europe in the coming months including a show at C.A.M.P in London this September. I’ll be making sure I’m there, you should too.
It’s certainly undeniable that when it comes to underground R&B – a creative corner has been turned in the last couple years. The genre has yet to fully recover on a mainstream level from the drought its endured over the past decade however. But things seem to be slowly changing in that area too. With the release of Frank Ocean’s debut album channel ORANGE (by no means an ‘easy’ record for a mainstream audience) and artists like Miguel and Jhene Aiko having support from major labels – maybe a new dawn is upon us (optimism never killed anyone).
Enter then K’La, a fresh faced female singer newly signed to Def Jam Records who’s new single ‘Blame’ features Nasir Jones. The single is a punchy jam with K’La’s sultry voice and singable melody disguising her man woes, as a thick bass and boom-clap beat carries the rest. Esco – who has been providing pure fire as of late – delivers a hard-nosed and sharp guest verse too (“her only mistake was I caught her rocking ‘Takeover’”). Take a listen…